Health insurance in the United States is available through many different providers. The cheapest option is to enroll in the federal Medicaid program, but you will only be eligible if your income falls below 133% or 138% of the federal poverty level depending on the state you live in. For most people, the best deal on individual health insurance can be found through your state marketplace. Here you can search and compare health insurance policies from multiple companies to find the most affordable plan available.
Where can I find cheap health insurance with full benefits?
The best cheap health insurance with full medical benefits can be purchased through state health insurance marketplaces. Full benefits mean that these health insurance plans will provide comprehensive coverage for all 10 of the essential health benefits required to be covered under the Affordable Care Act. The essential health benefits include:
- Outpatient services
- Emergency services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and substance abuse care
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative services
- Laboratory services
- Preventative and wellness services
- Pediatric services
We compared individual health insurance plans offered on all state health insurance marketplaces to identify the lowest-cost option at each level of coverage. A marketplace policy is available if you currently do not receive coverage through an employer or federal government.
Bronze: Lowest rates, high out-of-pocket expenses
Bronze metal tier health insurance policies are the cheapest available on state health insurance marketplaces. Although they have the lowest premiums, the deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are higher than for the other tiers. For this reason, if you expect to have large medical expenses in the coming year, we recommend you do not select a Bronze policy.
You may notice that your state has a Catastrophic health insurance policy. This is an even lower-cost marketplace health insurance option that is only available if you are under 30 years old or have a hardship exemption.
Silver: Cheap rates for low-income households
Silver health insurance policies are middle ground plans that have modest premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. For many low-income families, a Silver plan is the most affordable medical insurance due to cost-sharing reductions, which allow eligible individuals to receive reductions on the amount they pay in premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. You are eligible for reductions if your household income is less than 250% of the federal poverty level. This can reduce premiums significantly and make the Silver plan an excellent choice for many families.
Gold: High premiums, but low out-of-pocket expenses
Gold health insurance plans are often the most expensive that you can purchase on your state marketplace. However, Gold plans will have the most affordable deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. For this reason, a Gold health insurance policy can help you save money if you expect high medical expenses during the plan year. For example, if you need to refill an expensive drug prescription on a monthly basis, then you should consider Gold health insurance.
If you do expect high medical bills, you may also want to consider Platinum health insurance. Platinum policies have relatively expensive premiums, but also the cheapest deductible — Platinum policies frequently have a $0 deductible. However, these plans are not available in all states.
What is the cheapest individual health insurance in my state?
The best health insurance policy for you is a plan that is affordable and provides enough health coverage for you and your family. In most situations, we recommend purchasing a Silver health insurance policy if buying coverage from your health insurance marketplace. As mentioned above, these plans have modest premiums with minimal out-of-pocket expenses in case you or a loved one gets sick or injured. Further, the Silver policy has attainable deductibles which will allow you to gain access to coinsurance benefits.
|State||Number of Providers||Cheapest Silver Plan||Monthly Cost for a 40-Year-Old|
|Alaska||1||Premera Blue Cross Preferred Plus Silver 4500||$681.00|
|Alabama||2||Blue Cross Select Silver||$471.33|
|Arkansas||4||Ambetter Balanced Care 4||$318.00|
|Arizona||2||Ambetter Balanced Care 4||$332.11|
|California||12||Silver 70 HMO||$362.31|
|Colorado||6||KP Select Co Silver 4000/30/HSA||$311.51|
|Connecticut||2||Choice Silver Alternative POS||$398.10|
|Delaware||1||Shared Cost Blue EPO 7150||$572.79|
|Florida||6||Ambetter Balanced Care 5||$405.00|
|Georgia||4||Ambetter Balanced Care 4||$372.55|
|Hawaii||2||KP Silver III $40 – Fit||$437.00|
|Iowa||1||Inspire by Medica Silver Copay||$653.28|
|Idaho||4||Select Silver 3500||$478.67|
|Illinois||4||Blue Choice Preferred Silver PPO 203||$402.98|
|Indiana||2||CareSource Low Premium Silver||$267.68|
|Kansas||3||BlueCare EPO SImple Silver HDHP||$459.00|
|Kentucky||2||CareSource Low Premium Silver||$298.83|
|Louisiana||4||Blue Connect 80/60 $3,200||$396.00|
|Massachusetts||9||Tufts Health Direct Silver 2000 II||$311.93|
|Maryland||2||KP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental||$404.17|
|Maine||2||Maine’s Choice Pemaquid Silver HMO||$489.00|
|Michigan||8||Totally You – Value||$298.08|
|Minnesota||4||Peak Individual $3,000 HSA Silver||$327.22|
|Missouri||3||Cigna Connect 4500||$420.99|
|Mississippi||1||Ambetter Balanced Care 2||$441.00|
|Montana||3||Connected Care Silver Option 2||$476.00|
|North Carolina||2||Cigna Connect 5500||$528.92|
|North Dakota||2||Sanford TRUE $4,750||$280.35|
|Nebraska||1||Medica with CHI Health Silver Copay||$618.00|
|New Hampshire||3||Anthem Silver Pathway X Enhanced HMO 6300 30||$456.57|
|New Jersey||4||IHC Silver EPO AmeriHealth Advantage $15/$35||$399.00|
|New Mexico||4||New Mexico Silver HD||$380.71|
|Nevada||2||Ambetter Balanced Care 4||$364.70|
|New York||19||Fidelis Care Silver Dep 25||$562.00|
|Ohio||8||Ambetter Balanced Care 5||$296.88|
|Oklahoma||1||Blue Advantage Silver PPO 204||$499.63|
|Oregon||7||KP OR Silver 3500/30||$375.00|
|Pennsylvania||9||UPMC Advantage Silver $3,500/$25||$349.75|
|Rhode Island||2||Neighborhood PLUS||$299.51|
|South Carolina||1||BlueEssentials Silver 10||$456.53|
|South Dakota||2||Sanford TRUE $4,750||$426.32|
|Tennessee||3||Cigna Connect 4750||$524.40|
|Texas||8||Ambetter Balanced Care 5||$295.00|
|Utah||2||Select Value Silver 1800||$498.95|
|Virginia||7||Cigna Connect 6500||$439.00|
|Vermont||2||[MVP VT Plus] Silver 1||$474.08|
|Washington||5||Ambetter Balanced Care 4||$343.14|
|Wisconsin||11||MercyCare HMO Silver Option C||$384.51|
|West Virginia||2||CareSource Low Premium Silver||$444.55|
|Wyoming||1||BlueSelect Silver Classic||$795.44|
How do I choose the most affordable medical insurance?
The most inexpensive health insurance depends on your household income. The cheapest option is to enroll in Medicaid if your income falls below 138% of the federal poverty level. This is a federally funded health insurance program that provides health benefits to low-income individuals. For those not eligible for this option, the most affordable option may be through your state marketplace, as well as off-exchange plans, including short-term health insurance policies.
It’s important to note that the cheapest health insurance plan may not always be the right policy for you. Therefore, to find the best value coverage, you should evaluate your medical needs before buying a health insurance policy.
Short-term health insurance
Short-term health insurance is cheaper than marketplace health care. These plans have low-cost monthly premiums, but the policies may only extend a few months — up to one year at most depending on short-term health insurance laws in your state.
Another reason for the reduced cost is that short-term health insurance is not required to cover the same health benefits as individual medical plans. These health policies typically will not cover all of the essential health benefits covered under the Affordable Care Act insurance found on your state marketplace.
Cheap health insurance for students
Students often have additional health insurance options. Many universities and colleges provide free health insurance to students through a school-sponsored plan. These policies typically provide health insurance for most on-campus medical services, but you may lose the coverage if you become a part-time student or transfer schools.
Another option for some students is to purchase a student health plan. These health insurance policies are designed for full-time students between the ages of 17 and 29. Plans can be bought through most large health insurance companies and are paid either by an annual or semiannual premium. A student health plan can be a great medical insurance option because you will not lose your coverage if you decide to transfer to a different school.
Cheapest health insurance companies
When evaluating health insurance policies, you will find there are some companies that consistently offer cheaper rates than others. However, these providers may not offer policies with as many benefits as other plans. This is an important factor to evaluate when searching for the best policy for your family. For example, our analysis found that in 10 states, the cheapest health insurance company that offers Silver marketplace health insurance was Ambetter. Ambetter has affordable medical insurance policies, but these do not include additional benefits like gym membership discounts or exclusive offers like gift cards if you participate in healthy activities.
|Health Insurance Provider||Number of States with Cheapest Silver Plan|
|Blue Cross Blue Shield||9|
|Cigna Health and Life Company||4|
|Medica Insurance Company||2|
|Sanford Health Plan||2|
|Maine Community Health Options||1|
|Total Health Care||1|
|Group Health Plan||1|
|AmeriHealth Insurance Company||1|
|UPMC Health Options||1|
|MVP VT Plus||1|